Northern Compass, a program designed to help high school students transition to post-secondary education, was awarded the top gift of $1 million through the Arctic Inspiration Prize in Ottawa on Wednesday night.

Northern Compass will serve students in the NWT and Nunavut via trained coaches, accessible and relevant resources, on-campus programming and a network of role models and volunteers.

The $1-million Arctic Inspiration Prize cheque was handed over to the team members with Northern Compass on Wednesday night in Ottawa. From left, Karen Aglukark, Rebecca Bisson, Nunavut MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq, Nunavut Tunngavik President Aluki Kotierk, Jim Snider, Lois Philipp, NWT Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs Paulie Chinna and Nunavut Premier Joe Savikataaq. Justin Tang/Arctic Inspiration Prize photo

A strong, prosperous, healthy North relies on creating opportunities for youth to feel prepared, hopeful, and ready for every challenge. It’s time for Northern youth to have equitable access, to feel confident, to feel supported in their choices, and to excel in any pathway they choose,” said Rebecca Bisson, executive director for Northern Youth Abroad and one of four leaders for the winning project. The other team members are Lois Philipp, Karen Aglukark and Jim Snider. 

The Iqaluit-based Imaa, Like This: Children and Youth Expressing Themselves Through Music was the other contender for the grand pirize.

Another $1.6 million in Arctic Inspiration Prize money was divided among seven projects on Wednesday.

The ᑲᒪᔩᑦ Kamajiit program, led by Susan Aglukark, will benefit from $450,000 to address the root causes of high school drop-out rates and suicide in three Nunavut communities. Among the program components will be art-therapy sessions, access to healthy food, hygiene products, showers and laundry facilities, as well as hands-on creative activities grounded in Inuit culture and language.

Susan Aglukark, right, accepts the $450,000 in prize winnings for the ᑲᒪᔩᑦ Kamajiit program. She’s joined on stage in Ottawa by Kitikmeot Inuit Association President Stanley Anablak, left, and Northern Affairs Minister Dan Vandal.
Justin Tang/Arctic Inspiration Prize photo

Dehcho: River Journeys was awarded $370,000 for its multi-media project that will examine how the past century has transformed the Mackenzie River, from the Dehcho region to the Delta. Sharon Snowshoe, director with the Gwich’in Tribal Council, is the team leader. 

The Nunavut Law Program won $140,000 to provide a Nunavut-based legal education to Nunavummiut. Director Stephen Mansell and cultural director Aaju Peter represented the initiative.

The Yukon-based Resilience Training and Healing Program, focused on holistic wellness, took home $410,000.

In the Youth category, the Baffin Youth Outdoor Education (BYOE) Project received $100,000 to foster personal growth, skills development and social and cultural awareness by teaching youth traditional activities and adventures on the land. The initial phase will focus on dog sledding. Brittany Masson is the BYOE ambassador.

The Arctic Inspiration Prize is owned and governed by the Northern-led AIP Charitable Trust and supported by Indigenous organizations, governments, industry, philanthropy, and many other partners from the North and South, with management support provided by the Rideau Hall Foundation.

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Derek Neary

Derek Neary has been reporting on developments in the North for 18 years. When he's not writing for Nunavut News, he's working on Northern News Services' special publications such as Opportunities North,...